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Here's a short piece that I wrote on learning to code and the Oracle v Google case: http://radar.oreilly.com/2012/05/judge-alsup-codes.html.

In the last couple of hours, I've wondered if the solution to software patent and copyright trolling isn't code literacy. I'm primarily a writer; all judges are writers (some may be better than others), and understand to some extent how writing works. So copyright trolling for traditional print has generally (not always, but generally) met the fate it deserved.

Fewer judges are musicians or filmmakers, along with few legislators. They don't know how music works, which may explain why they're so vulnerable to Big Media hysteria and copyright trolling.

As far as code: I'd bet that very few judges or legislators can write code. If you look at recent court decisions that have an impact on technology, they haven't been all that bad. But if you look at legislation (both passed and almost passed, and yes, I mean SOPA, PIPA, and their friends, including ACTA), you see almost complete ignorance.
The judge presiding over the Oracle/Google case learned Java, and that skill came in handy when coding specifics arose during the trial. It's proof that coding is a part of cultural competence, even i...
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